Launched in October 2016, Instagram has transformed from a niche photo-sharing application to a social media juggernaut used by everyone – from your everyday liker to global big businesses.

Don’t believe us? These stats might say otherwise!

Instagram is no longer a place to just simply share a photo of your pets to your friends. It’s a place where communities are made, ideas are shared, people are inspired and brands showcase their products and services.

And with the sheer amount of people using the app in Australia alone, it’s almost imperative that Aussie businesses should have an Instagram marketing strategy in place.

But there’s even more reason to use Instagram as a marketing tool. Let’s find out what those are!

Why Instagram marketing is so effective

We’ve already talked about the mind-boggling amount of people using the app on a daily basis. The potential to reach so many people across the globe is reason enough to use Instagram as a social media marketing tool.

But there are other reasons why Instagram is a must for many businesses.

The biggest strength of Instagram is its visual nature. Research has shown that visual posts produce 650% higher engagement than text only posts and Instagram is all about captivating and attention-grabbing content!

Instagram is also fantastic for engaging with your target audience and building that all important customer and brand loyalty. Hashtags and comments make it super easy for brands to communicate directly with their customers.

That ease of communication also makes it great for receiving feedback and gaining insights about your business.

Did we mention that over 50% of Instagram users use the app to find and follow brands?

It’s a goldmine of potential customers and engagement just waiting to be mined! So with that in mind, let’s get cracking on how to create an effective Instagram marketing strategy that brings results and grows your business.

Building an Instagram marketing strategy

You’re probably itching to just jump on Instagram and start posting but an in-depth strategy needs to be created before we even think about hitting that upload button.

An effective strategy can be broken down into 4 steps.

Step 1: Setting goals and objectives

What do you want to get out of your Instagram marketing?

Knowing exactly what you want will help you optimise and focus your efforts on Instagram which will bring the results that move the needle for your brand while reducing wasted time, effort and money.

Is your goal to showcase your products like @boohooau?

Don’t feel pressured to give one clear cut answer. There are many things you can wish for out of your Instagram marketing efforts.

Here are just a couple:

  • Showcase your products or services
  • Build brand awareness
  • Increase customer and brand loyalty
  • Grow a community
  • Show off your company culture or values

Determining what your goals are will help you measure the performance of your Instagram marketing strategy down the track and optimise them for the best results.

Step 2: Determine your target audience

The core of Instagram marketing is delivering the right message to the right people at the right time. Determining your target audience will help you do just that.

If you know who you’re marketing to , you can create content that will attract more engagement, traffic and conversions.

Consider things like age groups, gender, geographic locations, interests and behaviour as metrics to find your ideal audience.

And if you’re stuck, try checking out hashtags related to your businesses or the Instagram pages of your competitors. What kind of people follow or use those hashtags?

Step 3: Creating a calendar of content

The way an Instagram profile is set up makes it easy for social media marketers (like yourself) to plan out weeks and months worth of content.

You can follow the grid structure of Instagram or you could use an editorial calendar.

A calendar will help you plan and manage your entire Instagram strategy. Source: Iconosquare

Either way, it will help you manage your content in two important ways:

  • Consistent content
  • Consistent posting

Nothing is worse than a disjointed looking Instagram profile. Brand recognition is crucial to business success and having consistent content is key. A calendar will help you visualise your content and ensure that it looks and feels the same.

Sticking to your brand’s colours increases brand recognition. Source: @cocacola

Likewise, posting consistently can encourage engagement as your followers can always expect fresh content from you on a regular basis. Having long gaps between posting can make you as a brand feel distant from your customers.

Step 4: Promoting your business and growing followers

The next step is to roll up your sleeves and start promoting your business and growing your follower base!

There’s many ways to promote your business including:

  • Sales offers such as special discounts or limited time sales
  • Run contests and giveaways
  • Collaborate with influencers or other brands
  • Contribute to a charity or goodwill cause
  • Hold an IG Live

Contests are a great way to increase customer engagement. Source: @nexba

When promoting your business be sure to use everything that Instagram has to offer including Instagram Stories, Instagram Live, and even putting links in your bio!

These additional features help introduce a variety of different content that are equally as engaging – especially Instagram Stories! For a full guide to using Instagram stories click here!

Consistently posting high-quality content in a variety of formats and engaging often with your followers (via posting UGC or interacting with them in comments) will help grow your follower base.

There’s actually one more crucial component in an effective Instagram Marketing Strategy – Measuring Performance – but more on that later!

How to Create an Instagram Business Account

We previously discussed how you should be using the full suite of Instagram features to promote your business.

However, things like links in Stories and Instagram shopping can only be accessed through a Business Account.

So in order to access all that Instagram has to offer, it’s important to have one!

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to switch to a Business Account.

To have an Instagram Business account you need to have an Facebook business page. You can make one on Facebook by selecting ‘Brand or Business’ when you create a Facebook Page.

Be sure to select Business or Brand when making your Facebook page! Source: Facebook

Once you’ve given it a name (preferably one that represents your business) and a business category you can switch over to Instagram and select ‘Switch to Business Account’ in the Instagram account settings.

Content for your Instagram marketing strategy

You’ve got an Instagram business account, now it’s time to start creating amazing content! Amazing content is easier said than done, but not to worry, we’re here to guide you through it. The first thing to think about when creating content is what type of content you want to create.

Types of Content on Instagram

Product/Service Photos

Your product photos will act as the backbone and foundation of your content strategy. These photos will embody what your business is all about. The key is to make sure your photos are well shot and actually represent the product or service your business offers.

Show off your stuff! Source: @arnottsbiscuits

User Generated Content

User generated content of UGC can come in the form of artwork, videos, reviews and photos with your business’ product or service. It’s a popular content type as not only are you posting visually compelling and interesting content but you’re also showcasing the talent of your own Instagram users which builds the relationship with them.

Reposting UGC to build relationships with your followers. Source: @kathmandugear

Behind the Scenes Content

The world is your oyster when it comes to BTS posts. You can showcase what a day at your business looks like or post exclusive BTS footage from a recent photoshoot or project. The key thing is to be creative and show off the human, fun side of your brand!

What’s behind the curtain at your business? Source: @filmcrewmagazine

Giving your audience a glimpse behind the curtains puts human faces to an otherwise corporate brand and encourages them to emotionally invest in your company.

Tutorials and How-To’s

You can use your Instagram page to provide your customers with valuable tips and tricks on how to use your product or service (or anything related to it). Not only does it work as a product showcase but it can also encourage users to purchase whatever it is you’re demonstrating.

Tutorial posts (like this tutorial workout) are super valuable to users. Source: @anytimefitnessaustralia

Holiday & Event Posts

Key dates on the calendar such as Christmas and Easter are practically begging for your Instagram post ideas! Posting on these dates (or around the date) shows that your brand is up to date and is looking forward to these holidays as much as other people.

These 5 posts are just some of the numerous types of content you might want to consider creating. For even more examples, check out our blog post about Instagram Post Ideas!

How to create great content

In order for your Instagram content strategy to be effective, it needs to be well made. Here are some things to think about when capturing photos, shooting videos or creating graphic designs.

Consistent with your brand

Whatever you post, whether it be a photo, or video, you need to make sure it aligns with your brand’s style. That means you’re using the same colour palettes, fonts and logos throughout all your content.

Content that is valuable and relevant

Before you post your next photo, have a think – is my content providing any value to my audience? Because if not, don’t expect a lot of engagement on your post! Create value by identifying problems your customers may have and solving them through your content.

Honest, genuine content

People are drawn to honest and genuine content. While your goal might be to spruik your product or service as life-changing, it may come across as disingenuous which damages your brand’s credibility. Authenticity is the key to drawing and keeping your audience’s attention!

How to write great captions

While the focus might be on the visual, your captions are also an important part of your posts. The caption is where you’ll find all the information that the photo can’t convey. They essentially provide the context of your Instagram post.

Caps can be short or long, but should always have a call-to-action, like tag a friend! Source: @koala

Your captions can be short and witty or long and informative. Either way, there’s a couple of things you need to make sure of when you write them, including:

  • Making sure your brand’s voice is present in the caption. Does your caption sound like your brand? Is it too casual or too formal?
  • Ensure there’s always a call to action in your caption. You can prompt them to comment or follow a link back to your website.

How to use Instagram Hashtags

Hashtags are key to an effective Instagram marketing strategy. It’s what allows your content to be seen amongst the tens of millions of content that is uploaded to Instagram feeds daily. They categorise content making it easier for Instagram users to discover content that they want to see.

Hashtags come in all shapes and sizes. They can be specific to your own brand like #nike for example. Or they can be related to your industry (#sneakers), to your location (#sydney) or your community (#fitnessgurus).

Clicking on a hashtag will send you to a hashtag page which contains all the content which have that specific hashtag.

The hashtag page for #sneakers. Source: Instagram

By using the right hashtags you’ll be able to draw more eyes on to your content – eyes that belong to people who are more likely to engage with your brand.

So where do you find the right hashtags? We’ve got three ways to discover them.

Check out your competition

Keeping an eye on what your competitors are doing is a great way to find some hashtags that you might have missed or have not thought about using before! Sift through their posts to find them.

Check out your followers

Another way to find great hashtags to use is to see what your followers are using! After all, they are your target audience so it makes sense that they would be using hashtags that are popular within that audience. To find them, simply check out the content your own followers are posting on Instagram.

Use Instagram hashtag search tools

If you’re looking for effective hashtags, there are multiple tools and generators online to find hashtags. These tools use algorithms and data to give you a list of hashtags related to keywords you input. Some popular examples of hashtag generators include All Hashtag and Inflact.

Some key things to remember when using hashtags is to not use spammy hashtags like #follow4follow or to use too many. For a complete guide on hashtags, check our Guide to Instagram Hashtags on our blog!

Measuring your Instagram Marketing Strategy Performance

We hinted at this at the top of the article, but once you’ve got your content strategy figured out and have started to post on a regular basis, you need to evaluate your performance.

Regular evaluations will help you find what’s not working and put measures to fix or remove it; and learn what is working so you can do more of the same.

The most important metrics to analyse include:

  • Reach and Impressions
  • Engagement (Likes, Comments and Shares)
  • Follower growth

There are two common methods to measure the performance of your Instagram marketing strategy: Instagram Insights and 3rd Party Analytic tools.

How to use Instagram Insights

Instagram Insights is a built-in feature available for professional business accounts. Insights features a host of useful data that you can use to optimise your strategy. These include how many people you’re reaching with you content, your follower growth, engagement levels and profile activity. Insights will also tell you more about your followers including which days and which hours they’re most active so you can post content accordingly.

Instagram Insights provides a ton of useful data which you can use to optimise your strategy.

Instagram Analytical Tools

For more advanced insights into your strategy’s performance you can use 3rd party tools. These tools dive deeper into your Instagram marketing strategy and can even analyse the performance of single campaigns.

Some of these tools are free to use such as Squarelovin or require a subscription like Later. You’ll find that paid services will have better UI and a wider range of data.

Fast forward your business growth with a great Instagram Marketing Strategy

There’s a lot that goes into an Instagram marketing strategy that works to grow your social media presence. But the core elements will always be the same: smart goals, a target audience, high quality content, consistent posting and in-depth evaluations.

This article has laid it all out for you, all that’s left for you to do is take it and kickstart your very own Instagram marketing strategy today!

To find all the blogs mentioned in this guide, visit the ZipZipe blog page!